Oh, alt text, how I wish you were true. But when it came time to set up “Epic Rap Battles of Gastonia,” there was a more obvious conflict to mine for Syr’Nj’s performance.

Syr’Nj’s plan to disrupt the enemy’s coalition is really a damn good one, and I wish we’d followed up on it a bit more. No amount of shared grievances or hand-based iconography is going to make such wildly different cultures anything more than allies of convenience (though time and trade might eventually consolidate their bonds). Gondolessa’s personal and professional relationships with Harky, and the avians’ great variances in humanlike intelligence, would make splitting off the avians easier said than done. But even weakening the average avian’s conviction that humans and their allies are merciless could dull their enthusiasm on the battlefield, and that would count as a win. Instead, Ardaic’s treatment of Yalaria here is going to bite the Peacemakers on the ass pretty directly after Rana shows up.

Both me and Phil, but especially Phil, did not intend for Yalaria’s arc to end quite here. We thought Rana might get a chance to rescue her or that she might escape on her own. But other plots kept commanding our attention, and by the time we could return to the issue of what had happened to her, enough time in Arkerra had elapsed that there could really be only one answer.